Night Watch

Pakistan: Pakistan is backing Saudi Arabia's rejection of its non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council and supports Riyadh's calls for UN reforms, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said on 26 October. Pakistan fully understands the imperatives and compulsions that led to the Saudi decision, according to a foreign ministry statement.

Comment: The Pakistani statement appears to be unsolicited. That suggests its timing serves two important purposes. One is to curry favor with the Saudis with whom Pakistan has a longstanding security relationship.

The second is to identify Pakistan's troubles with US foreign policy with those of Saudi Arabia. Despite the recent release of more than $1 billion in US aid to Pakistan, Prime Minister Sharif's visit to Washington, D.C., last week did not go well. Sharif has now let the US know.

Iran: An Iranian prosecutor announced that 16 "terrorists" were executed on 26 October in retaliation for the deaths of 14 Iranian border guards in clashes on the 25th.

Fourteen border guards were killed and three were kidnapped in clashes with "bandits" in Sistan Baluchistan Province in southeastern Iran which borders Pakistan's Baluchistan Province.

Comment: Baluchi tribes straddle the Iran-Pakistan border. They are Sunnis and they are restive in both countries. In Pakistan, for example, Baluchi nationalists want to secede. The group which claimed responsibility for the clash with the border guards is new or is using a new name. It apparently uses Pakistan as a base, as have many similar groups in the past.

This group poses only a threat to local law enforcement in Iran when security forces let their guards down. Iranian retaliation is swift and now certain.

Syria: Kurdish militiamen took control of a key border crossing between Syria and Iraq on 26 October in an effort to prevent Syrian Sunni rebels with the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq in the Shams (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra from entering the region, according to a news outlet.

The Kurdish militiamen seized the border crossing point in al-Hasakah Province in northeastern Syria after three days of fighting.

Night Watch

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